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Sugatan eCommerce Black Friday Guide: Generate 45% of Yearly Revenue in 3 Months

Irakli Zviadadze | Content Marketer | Sugatan.io 

October 13, 2020

eCommerce Black Friday Guide: Generate 45% of Yearly Revenue in 3 Months

Are you ready for the most important time of the year for eCommerce?

BFCM – in 2020, Black Friday Cyber Monday, takes place on November 27th and November 30th, respectively.

Shoppers are starting to hunt for Black Friday deals earlier than ever this year.

And this means you should start early to be prepared too.

We’ve been testing and experimenting with our offers for BFCM throughout the whole year (more on this later). But the point is, this small timeframe of the year is a big deal.

  • Black Friday 2019 saw 93.2 million buyers shopping online.
  • Black Friday online shopping sales hit $7.4 billion which is an all-time high. 
  • 30% of all retail sales occur from Black Friday till Christmas.
  • Millenials and women were the biggest spenders on Black Friday 2019.

This year, there are going to be EVEN MORE people shopping online because of COVID.

Expect ad prices to go up, for your customers to be attacked by ads left and right by bigger brands with a budget, and if you’re not prepared – you’re missing out.

We started preparing months, if not years, earlier.

We tested offers, perfected our processes, tried different discounts, tools, platforms, and analyzed everything…

And now, we present you our findings:

1. How to Start Preparing for Black Week Sales 2 Months Ahead (and Why You Should Start Early)

  • Revenue projection and preparing your team
  • Black Friday preparing process breakdown by the time frame
  • 2 Months before Black Friday
  • 1 Month before Black Friday
  • 2 Weeks before Black Friday
  • 1 Week before Black Friday
  • During Black Friday
  • Insights and 3 important lessons
  • Crafting your Black Friday Cyber Monday irresistible offer based on buying behavior
  • VIP signup campaigns breakdown
  • Dedicated landing page for Black Friday Cyber Monday deals that converts (and 10+ tips)

2. Use These eCommerce Marketing Channels for Promotion and Skyrocket Your Black Friday Cyber Monday Sales

  • Retargeting through pre-bought media
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Giveaway campaigns
  • Live shopping

3. Top 10+ Essential Black Friday Cyber Monday Strategies for eCommerce and Other Proven Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Building scarcity
  • Get ahead by launching early
  • Customer segmentation
  • Use our eCommerce product launch formula to launch sales or new products
  • Do an extended Black Friday Cyber Monday (Black Month) sale
  • Prepare post Black Friday Cyber Monday shipping and return plans (2 key dates)
  • Have good management in place
  • Optimize your site for Black Friday Cyber Mondays
  • Gift with gamification
  • Invest in relationships over discounts

Alright – hope you’re ready as we have a lot to cover.

First things first, here’s how to prepare for Black Friday Cyber Monday by starting early.

Note: To avoid confusion, with BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday), we’ll be covering the Black Week in its entirety. From Monday to Black Friday to Cyber Monday (1 whole week). Most eCommerce sales start before, after, or even during Thanksgiving.

How to Start Preparing for Black Week Sales 2 Months Ahead (and Why You Should Start Early)

So, where do we begin with this?

Your warehouse will be at its busiest in this fourth quarter. 

You need to start planning for your logistics way before pre-Black Friday.

In the era of Amazon Prime and free two-day shippings, customers are highly picky in their delivery speed and not very tolerant of shipping delays. 

Now, more than ever, you should be monitoring your customers and social media for any complaints and you should empower them by responding as quickly as possible.

Roll out the red carpet for them and be prepared to go the extra mile.

If you win them over during BFCM, you can have them coming back for more later on.

A strong eCommerce strategy is key for Black Friday 2020.

Here’s how to prepare:

Note: The following process is largely based on Kris’ BFCM masterplan on how to generate 45% of your yearly revenue in 3 months on our podcast. Check the podcast if you prefer listening.

1. Revenue projection and preparing your team

With 20% increase in revenue over the Black Friday weekend and more consumers shopping online, Black Friday 2020 is set to break records.

On average, Q4 generates 45% of what you made from the beginning of the year up until the end of September. You should have projections ready in place to manage your inventory accordingly.

You’ll need to make sure your manufacturing and inventory reflects that and is ready.

If you’re using a third-party logistic provider, make sure you know their daily capacity as well. 

Finally, make sure you have a backup plan in case of an unexpected flood of orders (good problems).

Within your team, you might need to scale up your customer service resources during this heavy shopping season.

There will be many questions. Many returns. And maybe even some unexpected hiccups with credit cards and shipping issues to resolve.

At a later stage, it might be harder to find and train new people. Depending on the complexity of your operations, you can work on bringing in new customer support or employees months in advance.

Ideally, a mobilized team (full of engineers, managers, support staff, etc.) should be available on call to fix bugs (product errors, inventory issues, site updates, etc.) as they come up.

So, in terms of preparing and logistics, you need:

  • Proper planning if you want to be able to hit the ground running and stay afloat over BFCM.
  • Operations to run as smoothly as possible and ensure you can offer a fully trusted and updated warehouse management system which can handle high demand with as little delay as possible.
  • A strong team that is fully trained and understands your business processes.

Now, let’s talk media buying.

Black Friday preparing process breakdown by the time frame 

Pre-buying media is a smart and efficient way to start the customer acquisition process earlier.

As a rule of thumb, media buying DURING BFCM will be extremely difficult.

CPMs increase by 3x-4x for cold audiences, your audiences will be getting bombarded with ads, and you’ll have a hard time managing everything if you don’t start early.

But CPM for warm audiences increases only by 10-30%.

Regardless of your offer, you might find it difficult to stand out amidst all the ads.

So, you should start early.

You should increase your ad spend in October (around when customer buying behaviors start to change), start planning out your email and SMS marketing channels (more on this below), and focus on increasing your TOF customer numbers.

Here’s our BFCM process breakdown by the time frame.

2 Months before Black Friday

What we’ve learned from previous Black Fridays was that the more emails and warm audiences we had – the more successful that Black Friday went. 

2 months before the actual BFCM sales, we make an agreement between the shareholders to reduce the minimum ROAS and ramp up the spend as long as it doesn’t affect the cash flow. 

The idea here is to build a massive warm audience to target during BFCM. 

And that’s when your efforts will pay off.

1 Month before Black Friday

Over the summer, we sent out a survey asking people when they are considering their purchases for Black Friday.

The majority answer, we found out, was the beginning of November.

For this reason, we started with our cold email collection campaigns to collect as many emails as possible at a certain price. This depends on the client, but we got around $1.5-$2.5 per email.

We used:

  • 4-8 days of giveaways for people who entered their email addresses and/or opted-in other ways (lead magnet, discount, etc.).
  • Exclusive discounts (extra 5%-10%).
  • Free products that we’ll be adding if they exceeded a certain purchase amount.

2 Weeks before Black Friday

During this time, we start ramping up our budgets for our general campaigns and run some traffic for giveaway campaigns.

If everything goes well and we’ve found a few winner ads at this point, we start to scale.

We add 2 new marketing channels into the mix:

  • SMS marketing.
  • Postcard marketing.

Postcard marketing is a really underrated tactic. It helps you acquire and retain customers like never before.

In the past, we used PostPilot (they helped us set up the campaign, shared some best practices, etc.) to send 2,000 postcards to customers who haven’t bought from us for over 90 days. This resulted in 60x ROAS from this campaign alone.

PS – Also check out some other lessons we’re learning generating $40M+ for eCommerce brands and what else you need to focus on in 2020 for more actionable tips.

As for SMS marketing, we sent out an email asking people to send us a message to get an extra 5% off on top of our Black Week deals. We received 451 messages, out of which, 41 people bought our products. This was another nobrainer. We’ve spent around $256 and generated $6,000+. 

1 Week before Black Friday

By this time, we want to have as many people as possible to retarget to.

We also start scheduling the ads as it can take 24h-48h to get them approved.

On Monday, we announce a site-wide blanket discount, but direct our email communications and ads towards high AOV bundles.

The discount needs to be higher than what you normally pitch as a discount.

For example, if you’re normally giving away 20% discounts, you’ll want to go with a 25% discount with this offer.

If you give a blanket discount for your site, people are going to buy more and your AOV might increase by 10%-20% too. This way, your margins won’t get squeezed as much and you can save on shipping, costs, and so on.

During Black Friday

During the actual day of Black Friday, we usually go with the same offer. But we tweak our communications and visuals to say ‘Black Friday’ instead of ‘Black Week’.

We promote the Black Friday deal until Sunday, and then, we switch to Cyber Monday.

In the past, we sent out 12-16 emails during that period, with most of them using FOMO and scarcity principles which worked great.

On Cyber Monday, we kept the same offer but changed our creatives to represent Cyber Monday instead of Black Friday.

Insights and 3 important lessons

No matter what you do during Black Friday, it’s essential you build up your warm audiences in order for your marketing to be effective.

It’s very difficult to get people to buy during the black week if they don’t know about your brand prior to the event. Expect the CPMs to go high during the week.

So, focus on allocating your budget 2 months before that and think of creative ways to increase your brand awareness to your audience before the madness starts.

We’ve also noticed that many competitors start promoting their Black Week sales in the beginning of November, which gives them EVEN MORE time. But it could be difficult to maintain the momentum of the sale getting closer to Black Friday itself.

Some brands were also doing extended Cyber Monday sales. But the same problem can arise here in that the momentum can be hard to maintain.

In short: November and December are going to probably be the most crucial months of the year for your eCommerce business. 

And for them to be successful, you need to be collecting emails and retargeting audiences throughout the entire year.

As a bare minimum, you’ll need:

  • 15 Emails.
  • 6-8 Video ads prepared.
  • 4-6 Flashy GIFs.
  • At least 3 landing pages ready.
  • At least 2 deals you’ll have for BFCM.

And you should:

  • Spend around 80% of your ad spend on warm audiences – For last Black Friday, we were hitting 10x-20x ROAS from our warm audiences and only breaking even on our cold one. While it’s obviously good to attract new customers to your business, during BFCM, it will be really hard to do so and therefore, it’ll be less of a priority. 
  • Hype up your customers – There are going to be many other advertisers competing with your offer. Why should your customers care? In the past, with the brands we were doing VIP entries to the special discounts, we saw a massive increase in sales. We were hyping up the customers, contacting them via email, messenger bots, and more. As a result, we had more “warm” people in our business.
  • Increase the ad spend BEFORE the sales – When going into Black Friday, we know prices are going to rise up. So, we start spending higher budgets to get new people into our sales funnels and warm audience. For cold audiences, we try to at least break even so we can have a much broader target audience during Black Week.

Now, all this is nice, but there’s one other thing that’ll make or break your Black Week sales – your offer.

Crafting an irresistible offer is simple, but not easy.

Crafting your Black Friday Cyber Monday irresistible offer based on buying behavior

If there’s one thing you should know about your offer is that there is no one-size-fits-all offer.

The short version is that you’ll have to test your offer a lot throughout the year to find what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Don’t overcomplicate things and don’t do different offers everyday as this will just confuse your customers.

The most common offer types we’ve experimented with include:

  • Buy 2 get 10% off, buy 3 get 20% off.
  • Bundles – Adding all the products (or all of the same category products) into one bundle called a “master bundle” and promote that. This is also a great way to increase your AOV.
  • Mini gifts.
  • Simple side-wide blanket discounts.
  • Free product if you exceed X$ purchase.

A regular 20% BFCM discount may not move the needle if your competitors are doing 50% off deals.

You need to be strategic and do your competitor research.

Another alternative is to introduce new deals and offers you hadn’t done before, like “buy 2, get 1 free” or “30% off for only one week”.

Regardless of your offer, make sure the copy is simple. No one likes complicated calculations and misleading prices.

If you can, show them the exact amount they’re going to be paying and the exact amount they’d be saving with a price calculator.

price calculator

Your highly appealing offer should also be answering the following 4 questions:

  • Is it something they want? Think about your best-selling, expensive, and/or in-demand products that your customers would snatch in an instant if it went on sale.
  • Does it tap into the current trends? Is it popular? Are your competitors selling it too? What makes it so relevant?
  • Does it already sell well? If so, you’re off to a great start. On a Black Friday discount, your main products should be flying off the shelves.
  • Does it increase their status? In general, products that appeal to your customers’ status (what people think of them, beauty, status, etc.) tend to perform well. And if those products have a one-time high discount, your customers might be more likely to snatch them while they can.

A strategy many retailers use is to run a jaw-dropping sale on a popular item to attract customers to their store. Once customers are there for the deep discount, there’s a chance they’ll pick up other items on the way to the checkout (or during checkout). 

From there, you can also cross-sell and up-sell on related products.

cart cross sell

Occasionally, this big product serves as a loss leader, with the difference being made up by the customers adding more to their carts than they would have without the flagship product’s deep discount.

Now, think about your eCommerce business.

What are some can’t-miss sales that will draw people to your store? If you’re sending an email to your subscribers, consider focusing on the one sale product you feel is the most enticing.

There are 4 types of buying decision behavior:

  • Complex buying behavior – When there’s high-involvement with an expensive product. Customers are highly involved in the buying process and will thoroughly research the product and other brands.
  • Variety seeking buying behavior – Consumer involvement is low with a lot of differences between brands. The cost of switching products is low as well and consumers often try out new products from curiosity.
  • Dissonance-reducing buying behavior – Consumer involvement is high, usually due to high price and infrequent purchase, and there is low availability of choices with less significant differences among brands. In this type, a consumer buys products that are easily available and convenient.
  • Habitual buying behavior – When a consumer has low involvement in a purchase decision and there are few differences between brands. When consumers buy products they use daily, they don’t put a lot of thought into it. They either buy their favorite brand or the one they use regularly.

buying decision behavior types

Other things to keep in mind when considering your Black Friday offer:

  • Your deal should have no strings attached or hidden fees.
  • Giveaways and other deals where the customers get an extra product will always work well.
  • You should still have a backup risk reversal plan.
  • And finally, don’t forget about FOMO and scarcity (more on this below).

To recap so far, your Black Friday plan should include:

  • Black Friday hype-building campaign that includes a countdown, deals, and your offer using ads, emails, SMS, and social leading up to the event.
  • Sneak peek on “door crashers” and other amazing deals that will go live during the Black Week.
  • A coordinated promotional strategy across all channels, websites, email, and so on.
  • An influencer engagement strategy.
  • Post-Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals (e.g. extended offers) for last-minute shoppers.

Now, let’s get back on track.

Another thing you’ll need for your exclusive offers is your very own, personal, VIP customers list.

VIP signup campaigns breakdown 

The goal here is to build an exclusive customer list (your best customers) for exclusive offers. Hence, your VIP customers.

According to Klaviyo, a VIP segment can be defined by 3 conditions:

  • People who have spent more than $2,000 over the year, OR
  • Purchased more than 4 products over the year, AND
  • Have been a customer for more than 6 months.

You can target “big spenders” or customers who just spend a lot of money over a short period of time as your VIP customers.

And to avoid extending VIP offers to inactive customers who were once very engaged, you should define your VIP segment as those who spent X amount of money in the past year or over a defined period of time.

The more specific your conditions and definition are to your target audience, the more likely you are to motivate that segment to take action.

Not every email segment is created equally. 

A segment that blasts an email to 79% of your list won’t yield the same results as a highly targeted VIP segment sent to 5% of your list.

Here are the steps for building a high-converting rockstar VIP email list for Black Friday.

If you’re an eCommerce veteran, you’ve probably been building your email list since day one.

And if you don’t have an email list, it goes without saying that you should start one now!

By rewarding loyal customers, you are letting them know you appreciate them and want to strengthen your relationship with them.

This is an essential part of customer satisfaction and retention, and turning customers into advocates of your brand. 

56.8% of consumers are more likely to participate in programs that offer exclusive rewards. So, VIP programs can boost sales as well as fortify customer engagement and retention (Source).

exclusivity rewards incentivize participation

There are a number of offers and incentives you can give to your VIP customers and coming up with different ideas is a great way to test your creativity.

Here are some ideas for VIP customers to get started:

  • Exclusive sales.
  • Early-open sales.
  • Birthday gifts (makes them feel special and works great!)
  • Exclusive benefits (longer free returns, free shipping, etc.).
  • If you sell clothing, you can send them to your VIP customers for free for them to try it on BEFORE purchasing.
  • Have a point system where customers gain points with each purchase or task (share, reviews, etc.) and once they’ve accumulated enough points, they can redeem it for gifts.

If you make VIP benefits clear, you’ll also be encouraging regular customers to strive for VIP status.

Obviously, the nature of VIP status is exclusivity

If your email list isn’t as long as you’d like it to be, you should be focusing on this leading up to Black Friday to build those numbers using VIP offers.

Seriously, now is the time to work on that email list.

There are a lot of different ways you can do so. Including: 

  • Pop-ups and incentivize-based email opt-ins.
  • Email sign-up forms.
  • Lead magnets.
  • Exit pop-ups.
  • Gamification.
  • Special discount sales.
  • Dedicated Black Friday countdown landing page.

Let’s focus on the last one for a bit as it’s going to be very important.

Dedicated landing page for Black Friday Cyber Monday deals that converts (and 10+ tips)

The idea here is that shoppers are eagerly waiting for that Black Friday Cyber Monday deals.

So, all you have to do is point them in a direction where they can sign up and be notified once it’s live.

It should include an exclusive, custom design (e.g. Black Friday and then separate Cyber Monday themes) and a timer (a countdown to Black Friday for scarcity effect).

The dedicated landing page should also be extremely simple and straightforward.

No 3-page long scrolling required, no complicated copywriting, no weird or vague offer.

Give them a special access discount code and let your customers know you’ll notify them once Black Friday is live.

Let’s take a look at some examples and tips to make this even more clear.

black-friday-landing-page

  1. Create a sense of urgency

Nothing creates urgency like a countdown timer.

black-friday-countdown-timer

The simplicity of this page draws attention to the timer and focuses on when the sale is running.

By explaining that the sale is only on one day (in this case), Argos encourages their customers to come back… OR they could opt-in and be notified instead.

They have also cleverly chosen to include a link to their ongoing sales for customers to browse while waiting for Black Friday.

2. Have a simple and clear message

The focus on your dedicated Black Friday landing page should be simple.

Focus on one thing: a single product, service, event, or even just the offer.

To present your message in a straightforward way, just focus on the main offer and write your copy based on that.

Upon seeing your landing page, your visitors shouldn’t hesitate and opt-in as they’d have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

3. Make it quick to load

Most users won’t spend any longer than 3 seconds waiting for the page to load.

A landing page is a place that’s intended to make your web audience end their browsing sessions with a conversion.

So, the faster it loads, the better.

Also, make sure it’s mobile-friendly and responsive as up to 90% of your visitors might be looking at it from their phones.

Run page loading tests regularly and make sure your images are compressed.

4. Emphasize benefits

Most customers probably know what they’re going to be getting by signing up from your Black Friday page.

But since the competition is going to be very fierce on that day, it’s always a good idea to emphasize your benefits on the page.

black-friday-benefits

 

Tell them about your main and unique selling points, while keeping things short.

5. Offer exclusivity

Everyone loves being in ‘the know’’.

By giving your visitors a sneak peek at your Black Friday sale before it goes live on your website, will give your sale an exclusive feel and you’ll allow the customers to pick out their favorite items before the sale has even begun.

target-black-friday-landing-page

6. Keep your banners and offers above the fold

As one of the busiest shopping days of the year, your customers are going to be visiting not only your website but your competitors’ too.

It’s important you show them your best offers and prices as well as what to expect as soon as they land on your page.

Make sure all of your banners, giveaways, deals, and other offers are positioned above the fold and are clearly visible as soon as your website loads.

7. Use as much of the landing page space as you can

When it comes to getting attention, nothing works better than using your entire landing page to fill the screen.

You can also use contrasting colors and some visual elements to stand out and quickly capture attention.

Lululemon’s Black Friday page spares no space and makes the whole thing very engaging.

lululemon-black-friday

8. Consider upsells and cross-sells

Upselling and cross-selling are great ways to take advantage of selling more to current customers already on your website.

Consider creating combos of 3-4 complementary products that go well and offer the whole package to customers at a discount price on the total.

These kinds of combos can work very well on big sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when people are actively looking for package deals for a much better price.

upsell-cross-sell

9. Generate excitement by adding a promotion bar

Once you announce a flash sale or your Black Friday Cyber Monday promotion page, you can add a sticky header bar on your site that shows up everywhere.

The bar can quickly grab customers’ attention as it remains on the site as shoppers scroll down.

This way, you can remind them of your upcoming sales without disrupting their shopping experience.

promotion-bar

10. Keep CTAs clear

Finally, make sure your customers know what they’re getting into in your call-to-actions.

The CTAs should be easy to understand, even for first-time visitors. They need to be obvious and compelling.

The most obvious CTAs include:

  • Sign up.
  • Buy now.
  • Book here.

And so on.

But you can also experiment with more unique ones like:

  • I want it.
  • Find out more.
  • View more.
  • Continue.

And more.

Looking for more Black Friday deals and examples?

Check out BestBlackFriday and find competitors in your niche to see what they’re doing and what you can replicate.

Now that you have an idea of what to include in your Black Friday VIP landing page and your offer, moving forward, we can discuss all the marketing behind this.

Use These eCommerce Marketing Channels for Promotion and Skyrocket Your Black Friday Cyber Monday Sales

Here, we’re going to let you know some of the top marketing channels we’ve had success with, our thoughts, and insights.

The marketing channels we’ve tried with BFCM promotions are as follows:

  • Retargeting through pre-bought media.
  • Email marketing.
  • SMS marketing.
  • Influencer marketing.
  • Giveaway campaigns.
  • Live shopping.
  • Postcard marketing.

In short: You need to be everywhere. 

You can’t just blast out an email announcement and hope for the best.

Your customers are being invaded by ads over every single channel they’re on during BFCM.

You have to be able to cut through the noise.

Now, let’s explore each channel in more detail.

Retargeting through pre-bought media

We mentioned this above.

But it’s worth highlighting how important this step is.

With this strategy, you’ll be lowering your ad spends to start the customer acquisition process earlier. It’s very hard to get new customers during BFCM as many other advertisers are spending their resources to do the same. So, if you do this right, you’ll have the potential to rival your competitors on the actual Black Friday Cyber Monday days as the cost per customer will be lower.

The idea here is to retarget all the people who you’ve been pulling into your eCommerce ecosystem.

In terms of your audiences, consider lookalike audiences for your cold audience.

To cast your net wide, you can retarget people who engaged with you in the last 30 days leading up to Black Friday (site visitors and/or engaged with you on social media). And for more precise targeting, you can retarget people who visited your website during BFCM (website visitors, engaged with you on social media, both during 3-5 days, or recent buyers.

Here, we’ve found that videos don’t work as well.

Instead, we’ve had more success with GIFs.

People are getting numb to video ads, and now, GIFs stand out more. 

Something that’s short, catchy, and colorful can convert extremely well. GIFs are also great for Black Friday ads as they’re so straight to the point.

With GIFs as your creatives, you can focus on:

  • Flashing colors.
  • Changing text.
  • Different effects.
  • Products changing.
  • And more.

GIFs also work great for quick demonstrations and highlighting certain features (e.g. main feature or benefit).

And now that Facebook is removing its 20% text rule, GIFs can work even better.

In terms of your creatives’ style, it should be straight to the point.

There is no time to experiment on new and unique creatives and A/B test each detail.

The same goes for your copywriting. Make it simple.

  • Black Friday bundles, NOW LIVE!
  • Black Friday Sales, up to 40% OFF
  • Black Friday Sale – Save 50%
  • Shop our exclusive Black Friday deals here …

It should be understandable at a glance.

black-friday-ad

For more info on creatives and Black Friday Facebook ad examples, check out this article on AdEspresso.

Email marketing

Another great thing about pulling people into your eCommerce funnel early on is that you’ll be able to later 

You might have heard how important email marketing is in terms of ROI in eCommerce.

But with over 116.5 million emails sent on Black Friday, even witty subject lines, it can be hard to stand out in your customers’ inbox.

We managed to generate up to $300K from email marketing in just a few days. That’s $210K from a SINGLE email and $90K from a different one.

In short, we sent out 5-7 emails during Black Week and we found that 2-3 pm for our audience workdays worked best.

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we recommend 2 emails a day – if you do more, you’ll risk them going to spam.

Use relevant segments (VIP segment as mentioned above) and contact engaged contacts more often. We also sent multiple emails to contacts who clicked a previous promo but didn’t make a purchase.

These contacts were more likely to purchase than those who didn’t engage at all.

Fortunately, your email creatives, copy, and design will be mostly straightforward.

black-friday-discount

Email will continue to be the highest-converting channel across BFCM.

Here are a couple of other tips to keep in mind when sending out Black Friday email blasts:

  • Promote “Early Access Black Friday” deals
  • Don’t spam your list 
  • Email engaged contacts more often.
  • Double down on your emails during high-volume days. You can even send multiple emails per day during the days with the heaviest competition, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
  • Offer discounts throughout the sale season. Your discounts must be compelling and consistent.
  • Hit all your channels. To maximize your reach, promote your offer and discounts across all other social media channels and make sure your website is front-and-center to handle the sales.
  • Audit your website conversion funnel. Now more than ever your site should be able to handle the traffic coming in and be ready for conversions.
  • Evaluate your checkout page and make the experience seamless.

Looking for more info on improving your CRO? Check out how we achieved a 2.52% conversion rate in this eCommerce Growth Saga Article – Part 1.

SMS marketing

SMS marketing is also close to email marketing and it’s an extremely simple way to generate more purchases.

For our entire SMS marketing campaign, all we did was send out an email asking people to send us a message (to a specific phone number) to gain an extra 5% on top of our Black Week deals.

We received 451 messages, out of which 41 people bought our products.

For this whole campaign, we spent $256 and generated over $6,000+.

Needless to say, we’re focusing on SMS marketing more heavily now and will be sharing our insights in our private Facebook group more often.

Despite being simple, the bottom of the funnel chains, email and SMS are things you need to focus on as much as possible before Black Friday if you want to make some serious money.

Once you have their number, you can then also use SMS marketing to:

  • Send SMS abandoned cart messages.
  • Give early access to high-value customers.
  • Send them a link to a personalized quiz.
  • Send them personalized content.
  • Invite them to join your brand community.
  • Thank them for purchasing.
  • And more.

Influencer marketing

With influencer marketing, we decided to scale down a bit and give influencers 5%-10% regular discounts we can keep track of.

We’ve found micro influencers (1,000-100,000) followers don’t work as well here and we’re also experimenting with gamification style giveaways where customers get points for certain actions (like, share, comment, etc.) and live shopping (more on this below).

When working with influencers during Black Friday, you can also focus on:

  • Sales announcements.
  • Educational content and videos – gift-giving guides, how to pack for holiday travel, holiday looks, recipes, and more.
  • Unboxing videos.
  • And more.

While influencer marketing might not be a top priority channel during Black Week, if you start early and work with influencers you can trust, you might generate some extra sales.

For more info on influencer marketing, as well as our process and the tools we use to generate $350k+/mo, check out our full influencer marketing process here.

Live shopping

Here’s another way you can use influencers in your marketing:

Live shopping, also known as live shopping campaigns or just live streaming.

It’s a trend that’s currently reaping great success in China. It’s meant for TOF (not cold audiences) and can be a great way to get your products in front of your customers.

This is an incredibly underrated marketing channel as the trend is quickly catching on in the West.

Live shopping (or streaming) takes place in real-time, normally on a smartphone, and is a highly effective way of introducing the offline shopping experience to online purchasing.

Essentially, you partner up with a streamer (influencer), who then shows off your products in live video.

One big reason this channel of advertising became so popular is because of COVID-19 crisis. And like influencer marketing, it holds that human contact through the streamer that the viewers trust.

No matter what type of video content you use though, it’s essential you:

  • Get good video quality.
  • Shop the products from all angles.
  • Include subtitles (if necessary in other languages too).
  • Make it mobile-friendly as that’s where most viewers will be.
  • Add buttons for it to be shared on social media.

A live shopping video tutorial should give basic information or more technical details and complex information on product use (depending on your target audience), installation, assembly, usage, and more (preparation, how it feels, review, etc.).

Check out this video by Alibaba to see how they do a live stream for a new product launch.

Amazon Live has also embraced this trend and has given a platform for brands to be more easily involved in streaming their video content live.

amazon-live-ecommerce

But you can also do it directly on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and so on.

Live shopping is the next manifestation of human and consumer behavior.

And it’s vital eCommerce brands are able to harness this new and underrated marketing channel.

We’re experimenting LiveScale.tv for top-of-funnel customer acquisition and we’ll share any results and insights we’re learning in our Facebook group.

live-shopping-platform

Giveaway campaigns

There are a few different types of giveaways.

  • You can do an influencer-fueled giveaway campaign.
  • Simple giveaways – Based on choosing a random customer.
  • Gamified giveaways – What we’re experimenting with right now. Customers get points for certain actions (likes, comments, shares, etc.) and can cash those points in to redeem for a free product.
  • Engagement giveaways – Partner up with an influencer, create a post that says to tag your friends, follow their page, share the post, or join the email list to be eligible for the giveaway. This helps increase your reach, drive engagement, and can even go viral.

influencer-giveaway-post

You can easily create gamified giveaway landing pages with vyper.ai to increase engagement and revenue, generate referrals, rewards, loyalty, and more.

vyperai-landing-page

Also check out their blog to learn more about eCommerce giveaway campaign marketing and how to drive growth.

Now, that’s about it for the marketing channels for Black Friday Cyber Monday.

Let’s take a look at some proven strategies you can use in them.

Top 10+ Essential Black Friday Cyber Monday Strategies for eCommerce and Other Proven Tips to Keep In Mind

Ready to make the upcoming BFCM your best one yet?

We’ve put together some of the best marketing strategies, tactics, and other general tips you should keep in mind to prepare.

1. Building scarcity

This is a classic eCommerce marketing strategy that works even better during BFCM.

We mentioned above you can use scarcity and FOMO in your dedicated Black Friday or Cyber Monday landing pages.

Evoking a sense of scarcity is one of the most powerful things you can do in your online eCommerce business.

And Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to build urgency and scarcity.

Ideally, you should be using real scarcity, and the best thing about this is that you can use it just about everywhere.

We experimented with scarcity in:

  • VIP sales.
  • Regular sales.
  • A final “last chance” sale.

Having a variety of offers and scarcity throughout your eCommerce funnel is a great way to fight consumer sale fatigue too.

Within product pages, you can include low-stock notifications and a countdown timer that shows how long the Black Friday sale is available for.

scarcity-product-page

2. Get ahead by launching early

Most of your competitors will be launching their Black Friday sales on, well… on Fridays.

That’s exactly what we did for the last BFCM.

Instead of running ads on Black Friday, we decided to do it for the whole week starting Monday. You can also start promoting “Early Access Black Friday” deals via email starting that week.

We gave barely 10% off to everyone who was pixeled and 20% for VIP sales (which was on for only 24h).

The results?

We generated $140k in sales on the first day of launch and totaled $410k for the entire week with an ad spend of $50k, at an 8X+ ROAS in total.

54% of consumers begin holiday shopping before Black Friday.

So, if there’s a season for spending – you can definitely start early.

3. Customer segmentation

Make your customers feel extra special and get started on customer segmentation early.

Segment your list in advance and then target them based on products they’ve purchased already.

This will most likely yield better results than just doing a blanket 30% off everything (which can also work sometimes) as the former is more precise.

Just because a product is cheap, doesn’t mean your customers will buy it. It must be a product or offer they’re interested in.

Here are a few customer segments you could use:

  • Seasonal purchaser – People who purchased during the holidays last year.
  • VIP customers – Top spenders. Give them your unique and best offer.
  • Geographic segments – Sending customers an email with a mention or special offer related to their location can be a powerful way to get their attention.
  • Recent openers – Customers who are active and engaged as they have opened your recent emails. Tease them with your best offers to get them to make a purchase.4. Use Our eCommerce Product Launch Formula to Launch Sales or New Products

4. Use Our eCommerce Product Launch Formula to Launch Sales or New Products

When doing a new product launch for Black Friday Cyber Monday, it’s best to have some kind of a surprise launch like a new product category.

If you are going to do a new product launch though, just make sure you’re prepared as you should start on this well before BFCM.

A surprise product launch just in time for BFCM might perform well. 

But on the other hand, there’s a lot that can go wrong…

Here’s the formula we’ve developed over the last few years to maximize our sales or launches:

  • Pre-launch (VIP email collection) – During the pre-launch, we’re collecting emails and give a special 24h discount code for those who register for our VIP list (we usually give 5% more than regular launch or give a free product). It also hypes them up and prepares them for the sale.
  • VIP launch – We usually create 1-2 very clear ads, 2 emails, and SMS campaigns. The reason it works so well is because of the scarcity play. We give them 24 hours to complete their purchase and make them feel exclusive. At the same time, you can create even more scarcity by limiting the number of items you’re going to sell during the VIP launch.
  • Regular launch – We usually plan our regular launch for 2-3 days as we start seeing diminishing returns after that (with the exception of Black Week, or Black Month as others do it now). We give them a very simple offer like a discount and prepare all the usual marketing channels – emails, SMS and ads.
  • Scarcity (last 24 hours) – On the 3rd day of the sale we continue focusing on scarcity.  We create ads that say that the sale is going to end at a certain time, as well as create SMS, emails and push notifications to inform them about it. It’s a very simple formula, yet executed perfectly, can get you 20-30% more sales than you’d get from a regular sale.

product-launch-process

5. Do an extended Black Friday Cyber Monday (Black Month) sale

The momentum might decrease after Black Friday Cyber Monday, but some brands are doing extended, post-Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday sales that last for the rest of the month.

See if your competitors are doing it, then you might want to consider it as well.

6. Prepare post-Black Friday Cyber Monday shipping and return plans (2 key dates)

For many people, the holiday shopping spirits continue well past BFCM. All the way up to December.

To capitalize on this, eCommerce business owners need to have solid last-minute shopping plans.

Some 2 key dates to keep in mind:

  • December 9: Green Monday – The concept of Green Monday was developed by eBay in 2007 as the busiest last-minute shopping holiday of the year. The concept refers to the Monday that’s at least ten days before Christmas. During that time, holiday shoppers are in full swing and it’s a critical time to increase your marketing efforts.
  • December 13: Free shipping day – Free Shipping Day is a one-day event held annually in mid-December. If your store participates in it this year, make sure your customers know in advance.

7. Have good management in place

Easier said than done. But good management in place is essential for a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday campaign.

When you’re dealing with a huge project like BFCM, you need to be prepared.

Our project management is sectioned off into:

  • Media buying team.
  • Email and SMS marketing.
  • Copywriting.
  • Graphics team.
  • Video team.
  • Giveaway campaigns.
  • Website/development.
  • Other channels: Influencers, Snapchat, Google.

We use Asana to keep track of tasks and deadlines, Slack and Zoom for communication.

And for the methodology of choice, we use the Agile Scrum framework.

agile-framework

For the most part, here’s our process for generating creatives:

    1. Every Monday, there’s a short, time-boxed meeting to discuss creatives. 1-3 Days before it, the eCommerce strategist, ad buyer, or someone who just knows the product (and niche) inside out releases an Epic (an overarching angle the video team will base stories on).
    2. On Monday sprints, each team discusses what happened in the last 7 days and adapts deliverables accordingly. Everyone presents their top 1-3 ideas (ad angles, creative ideas, etc.) and gets to work.
    3. On Friday: All the deliverables are finished and for every angle, variations are produced. We come up with different variations for the first 3 seconds of footage (first thing we test during creative testing).
    4. On Saturday end of day, all the creatives are approved and ready to go live.
    5. On Sunday, the ad buyer uploads the final version of creatives and schedules them to go live.

For Black Fridays, we schedule the ads in advance as it takes 24-48 hours to get them approved.

Wondering what goes behind the scenes of 7-8 figure eCommerce management? Check out our article on growing eCommerce strategies lessons and frameworks to read about the lessons we’re learning scaling eCommerce businesses $30M-$100M+.

Make sure you cover all fronts against potential hiccups in your management: eCommerce interface, customer service, backend systems, affiliate and social networks, product checkout, discount codes are working, and more.

It’s an important time of the year and you need to make sure your management is on top of everything that can go wrong.

8. Optimize your site for Black Friday Cyber Monday

Is your site ready for all the traffic and customers you’re about to receive?

Having a website that loads quickly is essential, but that’s only the start.

You should also:

  • Remove unnecessary JavaScript plugins – Not every tool you use will make the cut. Leaving any unnecessary plugins on your site risk slowing it down. A few months before BFCM, make sure you do a proper audit of your site and remove and unnecessary tools or plugins you use that only slow down your site load time.
  • Prepare for high numbers of traffic – Can your server handle any potential spikes in traffic? Speak to your hosting company to make sure you have the necessary bandwidth to prepare. Low site-speed is one of the biggest conversion killers out there. Make sure your site speed is up to par for mobile as well as desktop.
  • Make your mobile a priority – Most people shop and purchase on phone. Mobile optimization and marketing should be at the very top of your list. As a starting point, make sure your UX/UI looks great on mobile, your images are compressed, and the checkout process is frictionless.
  • Evaluate your checkout page – Getting your customers to stay on your site is the first step. You also need to make sure you provide a speedy checkout experience and that the whole process is easy to go through from their perspective.
  • Back-in-stock notifications – If you’re prone to running out of stock on certain items during the holiday season, you need to have a solid back-in-stock plan for your customers to come back to your site. For this, you can use back-in-stock emails or SMS and push alerts. If you’re going to use emails, make sure you mention the product name in the subject line, and all the necessary product info (description, price, etc.) in the body text. With SMS, provide your customers with an option to input their phone number instead of email as it may be a more impactful way to be notified when an item is back in stock.

9. Gift with gamification

Engage loyal customers and first-time visitors alike with unique and exciting rewards for shopping with your brand on Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

Keep in mind most shoppers are sifting through tons of offers and ads in this short period of time. So, think of new ways to stand out and connect beyond offering a simple discount code.

Consider a gift with a purchase that changes every hour, rewarding customers for shopping while building excitement and urgency. You could even use a timer to encourage customers to complete the purchase in time to get a certain gift (scarcity and FOMO. You can even use a countdown timer for this).

When it comes to choosing the “gift” itself, you can further incentivize shoppers to select top-reviewed and rated products.

10. Invest in relationships over discounts

Building relationships with your customers will help you build a defense that is competitor-proof, discount-proof, and even COVID-proof.

If customers have a real, authentic experience with your brand, they won’t care about the 50% deals from you (though they’ll appreciate it). They’re just excited for whatever you do next, no matter what it is.

A reward program sets you up beyond BFCM.

Your brand community should create a sense of belonging and make it easy to develop emotional relationships with your customers. With it, you can even exceed customer expectations with every point of interaction.

These positive experiences then lay a foundation for a strong, emotional brand relationship that only improves every time they engage with your brand.

  • Acquire customers.
  • Engage through loyalty programs and improved customer experience.
  • Retain customer loyalty and get more repeat customers through brand advocacy.

For more info on preparing your eCommerce reward programs for Black Friday Cyber Monday and beyond, check out this article.

Conclusion

So, to recap, it’s a long journey.

But if you want to succeed in your eCommerce Black Friday Cyber Monday (and upcoming month) journey, the first thing you need to do is start early (hence why we’re releasing this guide in October).

You start by allocating your budget heavily on TOF ads to start people engaging with you and pull them in your eCommerce ecosystem.

When Black Friday comes around, you should have a lot of warm traffic built up for you to go all in on the retargeting.

Make sure you apply the above eCommerce marketing and promotion strategies we covered!

Now – back to you. 

Did you find the tactics we covered useful? Did we miss anything? Any other marketing strategy you used that was successful?

Let us know down in the comments or share your Black Friday Cyber Monday insights in our private Facebook group here.

We’ll be sure to update you and let you know any new lessons we’ll learn after this BFCM.

See you soon!

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